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Department Of Justice Could Be Ready To Go After Live Nation, Ticketmaster

  The Justice Department could well be gearing up for an antitrust showdown with concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment, and its sister,...

 The Justice Department could well be gearing up for an antitrust showdown with concert promoter Live Nation Entertainment, and its sister, Ticketmaster.

Insiders claim that a lawsuit could be filed by the year’s end, POLITICO reported. After the news broke, Live Nation’s shares took a 5% nosedive in extended trading.

The controversy surrounding Live Nation’s ticket sales practices has been a hot topic among U.S. senators this year, who criticized the company’s opacity and its inability to prevent ticket bots. This upcoming legal battle could challenge the entertainment behemoth’s dominance in the live music industry.

Details regarding the lawsuit’s timing remain uncertain, and the DOJ may ultimately decide to drop the case. While both Live Nation and the DOJ declined to comment, speculation continues to swirl around what could be a seismic legal clash. Stay tuned for more updates on this story.

The DOJ probe possibility first emerged after a debacle over Taylor Swift tickets. Thousands of fans couldn’t buy the tickets, which quickly appeared on scalper sites with prices jacked through the roof.

After the Swift mess, the DOJ announced it was opening an antitrust inquiry into the monopoly, focused on “whether Live Nation Entertainment has abused its power over the multibillion-dollar live music industry,” The New York Times reported last November.

But Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts wrote a letter to the attorney general saying that’s not enough, noting that “an investigation alone does nothing for the stakeholders already harmed by Live Nation’s market dominance and seemingly ongoing anticompetitive behavior.”


They said that the company, which controls about 60% of the market — including many of the biggest venues — “has continued to abuse its dominant market position,” adding that “we urge the Department to consider unwinding the Ticketmaster-Live Nation merger and breaking up the company.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has been a leader on the issue, jumping into the fray after the November sale of Swift tickets turned into a debacle.

“I was watching what was going on with the pre-release of Taylor Swift’s tickets,” she told Rolling Stone.

“It came up on a more personal level; I actually have quite a few staff who were trying to get tickets that day. Between seeing their experience and seeing all the people online talking about it, I think it really showed how widespread the problem is and reflects the degree of market consolidation in this industry.”

That’s exactly correct. Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged in 2010, and it’s been a mess ever since. Ticketmaster controls the tickets, and Live Nation often owns the venue, which means they’ve got you coming and going.

“One of the things we’ve been increasingly seeing is that these price increases because of inflation and abuse of market power are due to market consolidation,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “It’s gotten so bad that we’re really seeing it affect our everyday lives, from how much we’re paying at grocery stores to not being able to see our favorite artists without paying an arm and a leg.”

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